Sunday, January 27, 2013

RH Jones: An open letter to Ann Hanning, Director of the Ohio Retired Teacher Association (ORTA)

From RH Jones, January 26, 2013
Dear Director Hanning:
As you, and some officials from the Ohio State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), were photographed smiling with Governor Kasich at the signing way of parts of our then lawful 3-percent non-compounding Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), it seems to me that now is the time for you and our STRS to hold the Ohio GOP-controlled governor and Senate accountable for restoring some of our pension by doing away with requiring Ohio’s retired teachers having to pay Ohio’s income tax. With the signing away of parts of our COLA, some retired teachers were left not smiling at all.
In the Ohio income tax, many retired teachers pay less than $500.00 per year. This relief from the income tax would be a little help in restoring retired teacher confidence in the system working for us, rather than against us. This income tax relief is one of the goals of ORTA and the time is right to suggest to our Ohio government: This should be done.
Originally, the Ohio income tax was meant to support education. This tax, like the sales tax, has been claimed to pay for other Ohio government obligations. Relieving retired teachers from paying the income tax would fulfill part of the inner significance in the original Ohio Revised Code (ORC) that created the income tax in the first place to: pay for Ohio’s legal public schools. Teacher retirement is part of that package.
The news media today is reporting on Governor Kasich mentioning, internationally in Davos, Switzerland, that Ohio is healthy once again and even has a one billion dollar rainy day fund. It certainly has been raining on retired teachers lately and snow will start in July when we retired teachers are hit with no COLA at all for the fiscal year.
As a Life Member and a SummitCRTA Legislative Committee Member, I am asking that you, Director Hanning, and the ORTA Board, and Legislative Chair, Jon Rockhold, take immediate action to put this on the table with the Ohio Governor Kasich, and the 2 Legislative Branches of Ohio. There is no good reason that we retired teachers should have to pay Ohio income taxes when our simple COLA has been reduced.
Robert H. Jones
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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